Gang-raped, legs broken and mutilated – left alive with her entrails hanging out…dead the next day. Anene Booysen was only 17. She lived in our province of the Western Cape. She is, sadly, not alone – do you remember the 7-year old girl who was raped and killed, found with her legs broken and her head twisted the wrong way in next door Plettenberg Bay in 2012?
Every 2-5 seconds, someone is signing this petition in order to send a strong, international message to Jacob Zuma:
STOP THE RAPE!
When President Zuma delivers his State of the Nation address Thursday, there will be one name on everyone’s mind: Anene.
The unspeakable brutality of Booysen’s grizzly murder has utterly shocked the nation and the globe. Zuma and other leaders are speaking out, but that’s not enough. This is his chance to start healing the wounds by launching a massive government campaign the likes of which the country has never seen. We can challenge the culture of sexual violence head-on by demanding right now — with the State of the Nation address and budget days away — that the government commit massive resources to a long-term programme to end this scourge of rape.
This war on our sisters, daughters, granddaughters — on ourselves — is South Africa’s shame. Only if we all stand together and say ‘enough is enough’ can we take the Government’s commitments and turn them into action. Let’s do this to honour Anene and to make her tragedy the tipping point for change. We only have days before the budget — let’s build the largest petition in South African history! Sign now and send this to everyone:
South Africa is one of the rape capitals of the world. Here are the scary stats: between a quarter and a third of men admitted to rape and in 2010, over 56,000 rapes were recorded at an average of 154 a day. And these are just the few women that report attacks to police — with the conviction rate for perpetrators so low and the emotional toll so high, most survivors stay silent. The Medical Research Council estimates that up to 3,600 rapes happen daily. A culture of abuse means that for many, rape is not seen as a crime but a daily occurrence.
Reports worldwide show that massively funded public education campaigns can radically shift social behaviour on all kinds of issues, from HIV prevention to domestic violence, that often prove resistant to other methods. South Africa already has the Sexual Offences Act, a national action plan and various Government departments focused on stopping assaults, but they are struggling to have an impact, faced with the rampant culture of sexual violence and impunity that runs through communities, law enforcement and the institutions that are supposed to protect women.
To challenge this crisis now, the campaign needs to be at a huge scale and long term using personalities that have influence, and covering the airwaves and schools with messages tackling the root causes. Only the government can make this happen. It should start with an official Commission of Inquiry, which can work with activists and experts in the field to dig deep into what’s driving this epidemic — and what’s most needed to curb it.
Anene’s horrific torture and murder has started a national soul-searching. But we could quickly be pushed back to into silence unless we all join forces and demand immediate action. A public education campaign would have a significant impact on popular cultural attitudes and a concerted joined up push to stamp out this crime could be the game-changer. This crisis will not be overcome by stricter laws and tougher enforcement alone and the government will determine the budget in days. Sign up now and tell everyone — let’s build an unprecedented national petition for the government to invest the will and resources.
Our community has fought to stop violence against women across the world. Now let’s build a new movement for change in South Africa and use our massive power to end this crisis.
With hope and determination,
Alice, Sam, David, Ricken, Alaphia, Emily, and the Avaaz team
Signing a petition is only a start. Get the politicians in our town to demand accountability from our police. They were elected to lead. Instead they’ve chosen to not address any of the serious issues in our town. And we’ve let them get away with it! Listen to this message: